May 31st is World No Tobacco Day, every year. We all know the health risks which are involved in tobacco consumption to yourself and those around you. That alone should be reason enough to extinguish that cigarette and make every day No Tobacco Day.
But smoking is also one of the main causes of accidental fires around the home.
Figures show that in 2008 there were around 2,800 fires in the UK caused by smokers’ materials. They also accounted for more than a third of fire deaths in non-domestic buildings in 2013-14, making it the most common cause.
Although one of the best ways of preventing a cigarette causing a fire is not to light it up in the first place, there are other precautions you can take. Often, fires in which the source of ignition is smokers’ materials are the result of incorrect disposal and lapses in concentration.
So if you’re one of those who smokes in the home, there are a few things you can do to make it as safe as possible.
It’s important that everyone takes fire safety seriously; especially those who smoke cigarettes, roll-ups, cigars and pipes.
Put It Out
When smoking, ensure you’re using a proper ashtray to stub it out in. That way, it can’t tip over and you know it’s made from a material which will not burn.
When doing so, make sure you are putting it right out and that your ashtray is not overflowing.
Before you empty the ashtray into a bin, make sure the materials are cold. Preferably, you should wet them before throwing them into a bin.
Refrain from smoking in bed, especially if you’re feeling tired or have been drinking. Dropping off with a cigarette in your hand could result in the materials around you catching alight.
And that means you’re instantly surrounded by fire and likely to receive some injuries.
Plus, if you’re asleep it means you’re not ready to react should something go wrong.
It just isn’t worth the risk.
Fitting Smoke Detectors
The best way to protect your home and family against the potentially devastating effects of a fire is to have smoke alarms installed.
When they detect a potential fire, they’ll quickly alert you all. That means you’ll then have the chance to make a swift exit or to tackle the fire before it escalates.
Optical smoke detectors are the best for detecting a smouldering fire, and you need to have at least one on every floor of your home.
However, for the best level of protection you should consider placing them in the rooms where you spend the most time. That way, you have the best chance of discovering a fire before it threatens the lives of any occupants.
Everyone needs also to know what they should do in the event of a fire. So you should make everyone aware of the emergency exit route.
Have An Extinguisher Nearby
If a fire ever breaks out, you will want to have an extinguisher in your home. Otherwise, you’re defenceless.
For a cigarette fire, it is best to use either a water or powder extinguisher. Just take care to note what items are on fire, and whether the extinguisher is safe to use, before letting it off.
However, you may also find it handy to have a small kitchen aerosol extinguisher close by. They are ideal to have around the home, and can be stored away discreetly.
Whichever extinguisher you do have, make sure everyone knows where to find it, and how to use it. That way, you know everyone has the best chance of survival and success.
The Switch To E-Cigarettes
Many people are swapping their traditional cigarettes for electronic ones. They are a lot better for your own health and are fast becoming more socially acceptable.
But they still present a fire risk, despite the lack of any sort of ignition. The BBC reported in 2014 that e-cigarettes were the cause of just over 100 fires in less than two years.
It has also been widely reported that the charging units of e-cigarettes are not safe. They have been known to overheat, causing a fire or small explosion.
So make sure you’re buying from a reputable brand. That way, you can be sure of their quality.
However, you should also resist leaving them on charge unattended or when asleep. That way, you can remove them from the power supply as soon as they’re fully charged to prevent overheating. And be sure to use the correct charger for the device.
You don’t have to change your lifestyle to prevent a fire. A few simple changes are all it takes to make your home as safe as possible.
However, for a long and healthy life, your best bet is to stub out the cigarettes forever.